Easy Ways to Defeat Stress and Anxiety
If anything, stress and anxiety are common experiences and to your surprise, almost 70% of adults in the US feel stress or anxiety for any given reason. We all face a point in life when stress seems to overwhelm us, whether it’s due to poor college grades, job hunt, work-life imbalance, relationship crisis, financial issues, or a never-ending to-do list.
At times, stress motivates you to get things done but mostly, it starts taking a toll on your physical and psychological health. Luckily, modern research has helped millions manage stress better and overcome it with time. If you’re stressed out and want to regain some calm in life, here are a few things you should do.
1. Look Inside and Manage the Issue
First things first, look inside and seek what exactly is making you depressed. Think of the situations or specific things that kill your morale without even knowing it. Some proven strategies are:
- Practicing meditation and introspecting might help you find answers.
- Talk to a trusted friend who knows and understands you
- Write things down to sort out the negativity in your life. It gives enough time to contemplate and think of petty things that you otherwise ignore.
Once you understand the stress triggers, figure out which factors are under your control. Give enough time to assess if the issue is real or if you’re blowing it out of proportion. Research shows that most people have perceptions of stress that cause bodily or mental unrest. If the situation is just a hypothetical problem, decide if it’s really worth all the trouble. Of course, it’s easier said than done but that’s what practicing mindfulness and medication bring for individuals.
Next, comes the plan to tackle the real issue that’s under your control. Depending on the nature of the problem, take action to protect yourself and minimize, if not overcome, your anxiety. Managing and treating anxiety yourself is better than taking medication. But if things are going south rather precipitously, seek professional help.
2. Exercise Regularly
If you have to do one thing to overcome anxiety, it’s regular exercise. Doing a physical activity stimulates the release of hormones like endorphins and endocannabinoids that improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Some of these hormones manage your sleep cycle and euphoric feelings which play an important role in maintaining a stress-free life.
The most important thing is to choose an activity that you enjoy doing. Give yourself a dose of daily exercise – and relief – with these activities:
- Running or jogging
- Doing yoga
- Hitting the gym
If you can’t take out dedicated time for regular exercise, try these tips:
- Use stairs instead of the elevator
- Part your car farther from the shopping mall or building entry
- Hand-wash your car
- Clean your house.
3. Tame Your Social Media Time Use
Research shows that sticking to your smartphone and scrolling social media for hours adds to your stress. Browsing social media too much reduces the sense of contentment; the craving for adulation and likes/reactions on your posts impacts your body and mind in negative ways.
Try to cut back the social media use as much as you can – and believe me – it’s easier than you think. Here are some useful tips:
- Track your online time
- Assess your addiction; which platform you use the most and why
- Avoid getting into lengthy – often political – arguments
- Get your phone out of sight at night
- Indulge in a fun activity
- Dedicate a set time
- Take one week off social media
4. Avoid Procrastination
Another proven way to combat stress is to stay on top of your priorities and life goals - and stop wasting your time. Procrastination happens mostly when you have a fear or anxiety about important tasks awaiting you, leaving you scrambling to catch up. People often seek refuge in procrastination but it comes back to bite them.
Avoiding procrastination is a great step towards an active and tension-free life. Here are a few proven tips:
- Get rid of unnecessary distractions
- Sort out your priorities
- Set realistic deadlines and long-term goals
- Organize your routine
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Stress levels and a proper diet are inextricably linked. The nutritionists conjure that eating a healthy and balanced diet can reduce the psychological changes induced by stress. Individual experiencing anxiety often skips meals and go for sugary and fatty snack foods.
Stick to a healthy diet and avoid processed food, and products having added sugar and oil. Some nutritious food items are:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids
- Tuna sandwich
- Healthy snacks
- Food rich in antioxidants such as beans, berries, and ginger
6. Socialize with Family and Friends
Psychologists argue that spending time with trusted friends or family members in a comfortable environment minimizes the negative impacts of stress. It takes your mind off stress and gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth that keeps you fighting in stressful times.
Find a friend who knows and cares for you, someone with whom you can share your feelings and stress triggers. Research shows that the issues of anxiety are more likely in individuals with fewer social connections as loneliness further complicates stress. Sometimes, all you need is a phone call from a caring person to help muster strength and take on the challenges of life.
However, don’t fall in the company of ‘not-so-civilized” friends to avoid finding yourself drinking too much alcohol or adopting other unhealthy activities.
7. Learn to Say NO
Over-commitment is one major trigger of anxiety. Take control over your life and stop going above and beyond doing things that make you feel depressed. Muster up the courage to say NO more often than not particularly if you find yourself juggling many responsibilities of your colleagues or friends.
Being selective is the way to go and everyone has the right to live life to the fullest. Remember that saying NO is not always selfish, instead, it’s the right way to go. Wight the situation, focus on if it’s worth doing and take the guilt out of the equation before making a decision.
Follow these tips and let us know if they produced the desired positive results in no more than a couple of weeks.